Category Archives: Monthly Roundups

Honk: December ’19 Roundup

goose loose

Here lies the last roundup of the year, which means it’s also the last roundup of the decade! At time of writing, I’m in the exhausted, cheese-filled haze that you get between Christmas and New Year’s, so I won’t turn this into a great introspective piece. But I will say that 2019 was A Lot, as I’m sure it was for a lot of people. It’s been a big year for personal growth and self-confidence, as well as career stuff: I’m now officially A Published Scholar, with two papers out; I travelled to two conferences and presented at both; I’ve been teaching all year; and I restructured (read: wrangled) the creative component of my creative research so it’s much less daunting. I suffered a wee bit of burnout in the middle of the year. I wrote a whole bunch of fiction that I wasn’t supposed to be writing, but was a whole lot of fun (and said to myself, hey, that’s still productive, even if it’s not the project I have real deadlines for…). I read a bunch. I’m going to see Cats this weekend and I’m ready to ring in the new year with friends and loved ones among art and chaos. All in all, it’s been wild, but it’s been good… and really that’s all you can ask for, isn’t it?

On the blog:

Stars Align, a Sincere “Underdog” Story – in which a little anime about an ailing middle school tennis team manages to legitimately tell a heartfelt story of marginalisation and hardship, when other YA-aimed properties can often miss the mark.

The Trickster Archetype in Popular Culture, Part Four: The Trickster is YOU! – these posts are back, this time feat. everyone’s favourite troublemaking waterbird!

Bonus: my favourite posts from 2019

Assassins, Outlaws, and Narratives of Autonomy and Vulnerability 

Bloom Into You (and Me), a Story About How Representation is Important

Headcanons, Queer Readings, and the Art of “Reading Too Much Into Things”

Land of the Lustrous as a Story About Burnout

Love and Also Monsters: The Emotional Priorities of Type-Moon’s Fantasy

Not “Just a Phase”: How Bloom Into You Challenges Common Yuri Tropes

Rewriting the Script: Revue Starlight‘s Rejection of Tragic Queer Tropes

And a shoutout too to all the queer YA mini-reviews, which were fun to write and hopefully helped someone out there find something that was fun to read, too! There will be more to come!

Cool web content:

You know me, I love some social history – and I’m a bit of a sap, so sometimes you will catch me loving weddings as well. Safiya’s fashion history videos are always well-researched, well-rounded, and very fun, and in this one she returns to the field with a special focus on the evolution of the wedding dress from the 1890s to the 1980s (what we learn: time is a circle, clothes can tell us so much about the everyday life of a past era, and wigs are a powerful ally).

As 2020 approaches, “x of the decade” articles abound – Polygon’s games of the decade roundup is particularly funny and charming.

“But why is Riverdale‘s writing so cringey?” Why indeed? This user attempts to break down the issues with the show’s bizarre plots, over-the-top dialogue, and the way it sassily acknowledges its own use of cliche while still clinging to them.

The Marvel Juggernaut: With Great Power Comes Zero Responsibility – an exploration of Disney-Marvel’s monstrous, all-consuming presence in the film industry, and how they’re squeezing out creative risk-taking as well as moves towards diversity; using a lot of the conservative choices from Endgame as demonstration.

Steven Universe Future is Doing Something TV Shows Just Don’t Do – a look at how SU’s continuation takes the time to address the messy, personal aftermath of the series’ big conflict and climax, where most other shows – particularly big-stakes sci-fi and fantasy ones – finish after the final battle and wrap things up swiftly (and sometimes haphazardly).

LGBTQIAP YA 2020 Preview: January – June – a handy-dandy roundup of forthcoming queer YA releases! There are so many!! Look forward to seeing mini-reviews of some of these in future, because I’m certainly excited to read them.

The Decade Fandom Went Corporate – how the way fans are seen by big companies has shifted over the past ten years-ish, and how (certain kinds of) fandom is increasingly being monetised.

Round and Round Like Dancing Laundry – Carole & Tuesday – how the space-musical uses its music and lyrics to convey characterisation and emotion, even if those lyrics aren’t the most profound things in the universe.

Carole & Tuesday and Bad Representation – a rundown of aforementioned space-musical’s failings when it comes to queer rep, despite appearing diverse – particularly how it makes its LGBTQ+ characters villains in situations where, in reality, they’re more often victims.

#100 Days of Yuri – a bountiful pile of recommendations from the blog Yuri Mother, collated nicely in one hashtag.

Review: Sexiled! My Sexist Party Leader Kicked Me Out So I Teamed Up With a Mythical Sorceress! – exactly what the title implies, focusing on how the novel uses the “power fantasy” structure of its genre to tackle very real issues, giving it a lot more heart and heft than a lot of “teen boy goes on adventure and gets big sword” light novels.

Anime Feminist’s Top 25 Anime of the Decade – a definitive set of recommendations from the team… and some extra, personal favourites that didn’t quite make the list, too.

And so we roll on into 2020. This year, we’re making art, taking care of each other, and making sure we get enough sleep. Let’s make it happen, gang!

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Papers, Please: November ’19 Roundup

Carole and Tuesday (2)

At the very real risk of repeating myself, it’s been a busy month (I’m feeling a little like Carole in that image up there). But a productive and rewarding one! I failed miserably at my attempt to do a pseudo NaNoWriMo, but I did get all my grading done… finished writing a presentation on Tricksters… travelled to a conference and presented said paper to positive reception… and hey, I had some great conversations about the creative project I’d intended to add to every day, it just didn’t grow as many new words as I wanted it to. But there’s still time. NaNo was definitely invented in a timezone where November isn’t the end-of-year crunch time.

Oh, and I entered something akin to a berserk state and bought far too much manga/YA at a giant bookstore. That’s productive and creative, right?

On the blog:

Personal Space: Carole & Tuesday and the Charm of Quiet, Personal Sci-Fi – a “please watch Carole & Tuesday” post focussing on how the show tells a very personal, grounded story in a futuristic sci-fi setting.

Headcanons, Queer Readings, and the Art of “Reading Too Much Into Things” – a look at the blend of fandom and academia that is the “queer reading”, which could just be a fancy word for a headcanon (and why they’re good!)

In RoundTable

Let’s Talk About Love, Tash Hearts Tolstoy, and the Asexual Coming-of-Age Story – academic publication number two, focusing on ace representation in the media and how these two books break free from the stereotypes and misconceptions that have historically defined depictions of asexuality in pop culture. Extremely proud of my work on this and how it turned out – and it’s free to read online!

Around the web:

Have I finished having thoughts and feelings about Life is Strange? No. In all likelihood I will be 90 and living in my robot body and still be having thoughts and feelings about Life is Strange. So here is a video essay about Life is Strange that explores how the game actually inhabits two different genres and how the different endings uniquely suit each of them.

Nonconforming in the ’90s: How Pokemon‘s Gender Variance Caught the Heart of a Generation – a great in-depth piece from Dee about the diverse gender roles, upending of gender stereotypes, and representation of gender nonconforming characters in the Pokemon anime, and how this was impactful not only personally but culturally.

Queer Eye: We’re In Japan! Gets it Right – a review of the recent Queer Eye special that sees the Fab Five working their reality TV magic in Tokyo, and how it manages to avoid a lot of the orientalist and “weird Japan” stereotypes that American travel shows often fall into (also, highly recommend the series – made me cry like a goof, especially the first and second episodes).

The Middle Ages Have Been Misused by the Far-Right: Here’s Why it’s So Important to Get Medieval History Right – a rundown of some of the ways popular conceptions of “the middle ages” have been misinterpreted, misused, and appropriated for the support of violent and conservative arguments, and why it’s important that people in different disciplines talk to each other so we get our facts straight across the board.

Meet the Activist Debunking Asexual Stereotypes – an interview with aro-ace model Yasmin Benoit that serves as a good roundup of the work she’s been doing to increase visibility and take apart misconceptions.

Who is Allowed to Speak Their Pain? Demon Slayer, Empathy, and Nezuko – a neat articulation of the biggest criticism I’ve seen for this otherwise hyped-up show: its main female character is literally silenced by the narrative, effectively removing her agency and any part she could play in the show’s empathy-focused plot.

In Way of the Househusband, a Former Yakuza Goes Domestic – a review of the very funny and delightful manga, now out in English, with a particular focus on how it gives its scary, badass male protagonist typically feminine interests without making this the butt of the joke.

And now, dear reader, I sleep. Take care and I’ll see you next time!


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Singular Spooktacular: October ’19 Roundup


I’m back, baby. (As you can see, I’ve been Very Busy and taking the hiatus was 101% a good idea)

On the blog:

Queer Allegory and Queer Actuality in Every Heart a Doorway – a recording of the conference presentation I gave in September, featuring queer reading strategies, genre studies, and a gay cat.

Man of Medan: All we Have to Fear is Fear Itself (and the Ocean) – a review (split into spoiler-free and spoilery parts) of a new interactive ghost story by the makers of Until Dawn.

Queer YA Mini-Reviews: Portraits, Premonitions, and Pink Hair – reviews and recs, starring I Wish You All the BestIn the Way of All Flesh, and The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burgers in Los Angeles)

BONUS: my presentation on playing with tropes in Life is Strange and Until Dawn is now published as a journal paper! It’s free to read (woo! Accessible academia!) here!

Web content aplenty:

Olly “Philosophy Tube” Thorn’s latest video is a musical about queer theory and the strange politics of language that doubles as a coming out announcement, and yes, it’s exactly as fascinating, enlightening, and emotional as that sounds. It spoke to me quite personally and made me both laugh and tear up a little, as well as very nicely summing up some complex concepts like “queer time” and the evolution of terms and theories.

It’s always a good time to remember Ghost Stories – but how exactly did this legendary, meme-tastic dub come to be? This video goes through it in detail, including an interview with the scriptwriter who so famously Went Off.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with Dominic Noble’s ‘Lost in Adaptation’ series – there are a lot of neat individual episodes, but I’m going to shine a particular light on the multi-part deep dive he does into the Scott Pilgrim comics. It did a great job of reminding me what I loved about the two different works, and articulating how the comics and the movie diverge to be two quite thematically different stories.

And, at the risk of linking to every single new Lindsay Ellis video, this one is a really eloquent look at the performative progressive thread running through – and sometimes informing the creation of – a lot of the live-action Disney remakes.

Writing Romance for Asexual and Aromantic Readers – author Rosiee Thor lays out some guidelines for romance writers who want to untie their stories from some of the traditional assumptions about love and sex, making them more hospitable to readers who Just Aren’t As Into That but still enjoy the genre.

Queer Identity, Mental Health and Finding Connections with In the Way of All Flesh – hey, you know this book! I just reviewed it! In this post, the author talks The Sapphic Book Club through her process and how she set out to write a mentally ill lesbian protagonist whose mental illness and lesbian identity weren’t tied up in one another.

Indigenous Teens are Using TikTok to Call Out Racism in Australia – TikTok is a platform that fosters a consistently baffling meme culture, but it’s good to see it’s also potentially a force for good… as well as an outlet for frustration through good old dark humour.

Siren Seeking Sailor – a great, poetic piece on The Asexual that’s both neat metaphor and neat writing from the perspective of a famous “monster”.

And it’s new anime time again! As always, give AniFem’s thoughts a look. 

Bonus fun: this little animation Jess made of one of my protagonists! No one will be meeting her for a while (least of all because she’s not from the book I’m supposed to be writing, you know, for work. Oops) but I want to show her off!

And that wraps us up for the month! I plan to be to back to my regular schedule now, so I will be seeing you soon with more Hashtag Content. Take care, everyone!

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Fight, O Maidens: August ’19 Roundup (and Hiatus Notice)

Maidens 1

Well, it had to happen eventually–I’ve been running this blog for more than five years and I’ve never taken an official break except when I was travelling. The closest I came was dropping from one post a week to one post every two weeks, a change I decided on when I was getting into the thick of my undergrad degree. Though it’s also a change I promptly ignored, since I still committed to doing episodic reviews every week for a good portion of that year, which… actually meant I was doing even more writing than usual. Honest to goodness, how did I pump out a post per week? Obviously not all of them were very good, but still, the sheer output impresses me. Oh, the unstoppable vigour of youth… or something…

The long and short of it is, my blogging practices have changed over time. It used to be that I could stack up a bunch of posts in a queue, often a couple of month’s worth, and be sitting pretty waiting for them to go live. Recently, I’ve been… I think the official term is “flying by the seat of my pants”, at least more than before; looking at WordPress’ little calendar and seeing it empty and wondering where another two weeks went, catching myself thinking “crap, I need to come up with something to fill up the blog queue”. I’ve also become way pickier and more self-conscious of what I post, which means more drafts than ever before are being discarded since I’m not happy with them, and I either send them back for reworking or just never let them see the light of Internet day. It means I’m quite proud of what I do post, and these posts are often longer, more in-depth, and more polished. This skew towards quality over quantity–the reverse of my early blogging days–is a positive one, but it does mean that a lot more work and time is going into this thing, and I’m forcing myself to admit that it’s not always time that I have.

So I’m taking a break. Oof, it hurts to do it, but I think it will be for the best. Let’s say there will be no posts over September, which will give me time to come up with ideas at my leisure and stack them in the queue rather than frantically hammering articles out because I feel I ought to. I’d like to get back to the post-per-fortnight schedule after this holiday, since I enjoy the consistency of it, but we shall see. A month can be a long time, but it can also vanish out from underneath you the moment you look away. What do you mean semester has started again? What do you mean I have to give a presentation in three weeks? What do you mean we’re already at episode eight of the anime season??

everything is on fire

…you see where I’m at.

In any case, dear reader, I will see you on the flipside. And of course I’ll still be dicking around on Twitter if you want to hear from me.

On the ol’ blog

Community Season 3: A Study in Weirdness and Parody, Made With Love – what exactly made the sitcom’s third and most buck-wild season so impactful, fun, and interesting?

O Maidens in Your Savage Season and “Not Like Other Girls” Syndrome – how Sonezaki’s plotline seems to be unpacking the toxic, isolating trope of “the bookish heroine versus the bitchy girls” that crops up in YA and other teen media.

Queer YA Mini-Reviews: Broadswords, Birdwatching, and Band Geeks – a look at Once & FutureSilhouette of a Sparrow, and This Song is (Not) For You.

Bonus! I recommended a novel for every day of the month over on Tweeter. I swear I have read and enjoyed more than 30 books throughout my long love of reading, but this was sometimes very difficult. It also helped me realise how many books I haven’t read that I still want to, so if you have any recs of your own based on this palette of my tastes, feel free to shoot them my way!

Around the web

Let’s dive into some video content…

In the wake of the movie trailer, this has been doing the rounds–it makes for a very neat introduction to the musical Cats, beloved and baffling to many including me (this actually serves to clarify some plot/character beats that I hadn’t even picked up on with the many times I watched the filmed version as a kid!).

So… how ’bout that Game of Thrones thing that wrapped up a little while ago? In an hour-long deep dive, Lindsay Ellis lays out and picks apart what exactly went so pear-shaped about the end up the series. Her first video looked at this more broadly, but this one looks at individual character arcs (which is fair enough, considering the show was supposedly character-driven…).

This is much more poignant than the clickbaity thumbnail might suggest. A retrospective on AnoHana nearly ten years after it aired, part analysis and part personal story of the show’s emotional and cathartic impact. What does it tell us about grief? About play and childhood and the mirage of maturity? About art and the different conversations that it can have with each viewer? Am I crying about AnoHana again? Yes, yes I am.

Again, goofy title card aside, this is an intriguing look at the genre of “world making” games that, in fact, have you laying down infrastructure on a world that already exists. Do these games unintentionally come from, and encourage, a colonial mindset? Even if it’s just in a fantasy space? There is no easy answer, but it’s certainly an interesting thing to think about.

Kase-san and Queer Thirst: Depicting Sexuality in a “Pure” Yuri Manga – how good ol’ Kase-san tells a story about teen sexuality without sexualising its teenaged cast.

Golden Age Superheroes Were Shaped by the Rise of Fascism – an important, and artful, reminder of the origins of many of our favourite superheroes, and that statements like “we’re trying to keep politics out of comics” are inherently false and harmful.

The Post-War Kids: Anime After Annihilation – Dominic looks at a few iconic series and films (from Kids on the Slope to AKIRA to Astro Boy) that respond to the massive cultural shift that occurred in Japan after it was bombed and occupied by the US military, exploring post-nuclear tension and the building of a new national identity through sci-fi, music, and many other art expressions.

And there goes August. As always, take care, and I’ll see you on the other side of the hiatus!

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You’re a Gem: July ’19 Roundup

Lustrous (1)

It occurs to me that I’ve put out two big posts in a row that essentially amount to “I relate strongly to/connect with these characters who get the crap kicked out of them in their respective narratives”, and just in case anyone was getting worried, I want you all to know that I am okay. Just much more aware of some self-worth issues that are bubbling away at the back of my brain, these days, and trying to work through them through the (comparatively) safe lens of stories. This is, after all, one of the great appeals of fiction: it can reflect your own image back to you in sometimes unexpected ways, and that refracted image can throw things unexpectedly into perspective. Maybe this uplifts you, maybe this depresses you, maybe it provides a mix of both. Maybe it reminds you to take better care of yourself. Maybe it just gives you the little thrill of being able to say “same”.

Maybe I’m just feeling sappy–in the wake of the arson attack on Kyoto Animation this month, there’s been an outpouring of pieces (short and longform) about how the studio’s various works impacted people, whether that meant making them feel seen, making them feel happy when they were in a bad place, making them appreciate the beauty of everyday things, or just making them laugh. Out of the tragedy comes a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of art. Engaging with and thinking about stories can save people, whether in great life-altering ways or smaller, seemingly less consequential ones. At the heart of it this, I think, is why I’m so passionate about stories. This stuff matters, you know? I probably don’t need to tell you this if you’re following this blog diligently enough to be reading the ramble at the beginning of the monthly roundup, but it bears repeating.

Take care out there, everyone–of yourselves, of each other, and of the stories close to your heart, and let them take care of you.

On the blog:

Land of the Lustrous as a Story About Burnout – musings on Phos as Millennial icon (this got a ludicrous amount of views in its first week, and is maybe now one of my most-read posts. I’m glad it resonated with so many people! But please, if it resonated with you, go take a nap!!)

Queer YA Mini-Reviews: Snow, Shapeshifters, and Spooky Castles – three more reviews, this time taking a look at Girls Made of Snow and Glass, The Brilliant Death, and Down Among the Sticks and Bones.

Around the web:

The Ultimate Fantasy of Dragon Age: Inquisition is Being Listened to by a Man – an examination of the romantic appeal of Cullen, whose wish-fulfilment ultimately lies in the fact that he’s Just A Good Sweet Boy who genuinely respects the opinions and choices of the female player-character… a low bar, but one that many straight men fictional or otherwise tend not to clear.

Through Doorways: Portal Fantasies as a Means of Queer Escape and Queer Hope – author A.J. Hackworth reflects on Every Heart a Doorway and how it taps into the escapist appeal the portal fantasy genre had for her and a lot of other queer kids.

The Silence of Peggy Carter – another look at how Captain America’s emotional resolution in Avengers: Endgame fell short, with a specific focus on how this “happy ending” robs Peggy of the agency she’d had throughout the series.

Nichijou and the Everyday Epics of High School Girls – a celebration of the bizarre sitcom’s knack for capturing the authentic teen girl experience, and telling a sweet story of friendship amidst the surreal shenanigans.

SARAZANMAI Imagines a Better Future for Queer Love Stories – an analysis of how Ikuhara’s latest delightfully bizarre project addresses and rejects a lot of the negative tropes that can follow queer characters and romances around in anime.

(I know I end up linking a post of Vrai’s basically every month. I know. They just write the good words and I want to share those words around)

Masculine Bisexuality in Games: Past, Present, and Future – a look at the elusive bi male character in the video game medium, and the tropes (and technological limitations) they’ve historically been trapped in on the rare case that they do appear.

Eugene Lee Yang is Making the Internet More Gay – an interview with content creator and BuzzFeed escapee Eugene “Try Guys” Lee Yang, a dude who I have a lot of respect for in his creative abilities, work ethic, and general coolness.

And of course it was premiere review season! I’m keeping an eye on O Maidens in Your Savage Season, given, and the magical-girl-mecha weirdness of GRANBELM, which is the most new stuff I’ve been excited by in a while. How about you guys?

That wraps us up once again. Take care out there, everyone, and take care of each other.

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Be the Cowboy: June ’19 Roundup

Bloom Into You (64)

Can’t believe I willingly, unprompted, used the word “methodology” in a blog post about superheroes and cowboys. It just slipped in. I kind of want to kick myself in the ankles.

On the blog this month:

Strange, but Familiar: Fun with Intertextuality in Fate/Apocrypha – a look at the action-packed spinoff’s playful use of its relationship to other texts, be they myths or other Fate bits.

Assassins, Outlaws, and Narratives of Autonomy and Vulnerability – one part fan studies, one part analysis of gendered tropes, one part cowboy, and one part me holding up a hand-painted sign that says “Bucky Barnes deserved better”.

On Anime Feminist:

Not “Just a Phase”: How Bloom Into You Challenges Common Yuri Tropes – I return to AniFem to organise my feels about Sayaka’s mini-arc, and the playful and heartwarming way it challenges old tropes.

In exciting news, that article was translated into Japanese over on this website!

Around the web:

Elementary‘s Portrayal of Platonic Love is a Revelation – I’ve been rewatching/catching up on this show recently, so it was especially nice to see an article that hits on one of my favourite things about it: Sherlock and Joan’s plot-central, life-affirming, beautiful complicated friendship, which stays a friendship when so many other shows like it invest in a romantic “will they or won’t they?” for their emotional stakes.

The Beginner’s Guide to Yuri Manga – looking to get into manga about girls falling for each other? Here’s a quick roundup of The Good Stuff currently available in English.

5 SFF Books That Introduce Aromanticism Well and 5 SFF Books That Introduce Asexuality Well – as part of her ongoing research/analysis of the aro-ace spectrum in fiction, Lynn E. O’Connacht compiles some lists of speculative fiction that she feels get it right.

14 YA Authors on the Queer Books That Changed Their Lives – another Pride Month recommendation list, this time with a very personal touch.

AniFem Recommends – as well as their seasonal recs, the AniFem team has now compiled (the start of) an overall list of recommendations. In fact, not just one list, but three, depending on what exactly you’re looking for!

The Forgotten Trans History of the Wild West – Atlas Obscura always brings fun little glimpses of bigger historical research, and this provides a neat peak into the lives of gender diverse folks who roamed the American West in its heyday.

Speaking of fun glimpses into history, this is currently my favourite account:

Plus, this thread that dives into a close reading of The Hunger Games, exploring the potential of Katniss as an aromantic and/or asexual character!

Also, just as a general recommendation, oh my gosh Bastille’s new album gave me so many emotions please give it a listen if you like their stuff

And so June comes to a close. See you all next time, and as always take care!

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May ’19 Roundup

spider mens

This has been a weird couple of months to be on social media: two massive pop cultural events, Avengers: Endgame and the final season of Game of Thrones both happened, and I wasn’t directly involved with either them. And yet I could still, quite effectively, absorb what was going on by osmosis. Exhausting, exhilarating osmosis. Oh, the thinkpieces. Oh, the reaction threads. Oh, the memes, and the memes that sprung from thinkpieces and other people’s reactions, and the memes that sprung from those, all in an endless spiral. Chaos is a Twitter feed. That’s what that recurring line from the show is, right? Tyrion definitely said that at one point.

One big discussion that sprung from these two big to-dos was the question of “shocking” your audience with a twisty-turny plot they couldn’t predict. I even chimed in! I may well make that into a Big Post at some point, but there are my thoughts for now. I promise I wrote that out because I genuinely find the study of genre interesting and not just because, well, everyone else had a take fresh out of the oven, so I felt the need to have one as well. It’s quite fascinating, really, to be part of a social climate that so actively dives into discussion and dissection of culture and media on such a large scale. Does it become exhausting sometimes? Yes, especially when these Big Events happen in quick succession of one another. But it’s also exciting to wander among a field rich with analysis, with people genuinely interrogating why a story fell flat, or why it felt good, or why we should maybe take a look at the consumer and marketing culture around fiction.

Now I can see I lived through what is likely to go down in media history as one of the biggest months in pop culture engagement. I was there, Gandalf. There were so many memes.

On the blog:

Of Cosmic Stakes and Personal Stories (Spider Verse, Infinity War, and Others) – in which I return to the theme of “character stories are more engaging than Big Stakes” this time through the lens of Into the Spider Verse, which called to me significantly more than a certain other crossover movie.

Queer YA Mini-Reviews: Unicorns, University, and the Underworld – featuring The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myth and Magic, Every Heart a Doorway, and Songs That Sound Like Blood. (Additional note: I have now also read Down Among the Sticks and Bones, the prequel to Every Heart, and it also blew me away. Just in case you want a bonus recommendation!)

Around the webzone (get it? Web? Because Spider-Man?):

Avengers: Endgame Didn’t Earn Its Big “Girl Power” Moment – speaking of Endgame takes… here’s one from someone who wasn’t mightily impressed with the franchise’s performative attempt at feminism. It’s all very well to have a big splash-page-style lineup of all your lady heroes, but it rings a little hollow when they don’t get the same weight in the plot as the men in their lives.

How the Straight Agenda Ruined Avengers: Endgame – continuing to speak of, this article articulates well how characters are parceled off into traditionally, normative “happy endings” of wives and kids, which, in many cases, feels unearned, out of place, or downright contradictory to the rest of their arcs up to this point (you can’t just leave Bucky in the dirt!! Who do you people think you are??)

8 Decades of SFF with Low, Intimate Stakes – also fitting nicely with the theme of my superhero post, here is a bundle of speculative fiction recommendations that focus on smaller, more character-driven stories rather than quests to save the universe.

You Can’t Change Your Favourite Pop Culture – But You Can Change the Way You Engage With It – alongside Endgame, the other hot ticket finale this month was Game of Thrones, which sparked some… discourse, to say the least. But, as this article gets into, you can not enjoy a piece of media without demanding that it be remade to suit you.

A Decade of LGBTQ YA Since Ash – as well as writing real good books, Malinda Lo gathers annual statistics on queer YA in the publishing industry. Ten years after Ash hit the shelves, she gathers those stats into one post to see how far things have come since then. She also has another great post looking at the stats of award-winners over the past years, tracking who is represented as well as providing some insight into how these awards work… and if these awards provide any real notion of what a “good” queer book is in the first place.

And this month, podcasts recommendations are back!


Shedunnit is a podcast that digs into The Golden Age of Crime Fiction, examining the tropes, history, and context of famous detective novels from authors like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. What is the cultural significance of Miss Marple being an unmarried woman? What role does food (and a new public understanding of poisons) play in detective fiction? Where and how can we find queer subtext in these books? How were the “rules” of a good mystery codified? The answers to all these are fascinating, and beautifully produced, featuring plenty of interviews with historical experts and avid readers.

A short one this time round, but there it is! Take care everyone!



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